The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale

storybook of legends

The Storybook of Legends
Shannon Hale
5 Stars

In this fairy tale world the children of various fairy tale characters know that they will go to school and eventually grow up and take the place of their parents. So Apple White will eventually become the new Snow White. And Raven Queen will eventually become the Evil Queen destined to try to kill Apple. The only complication is that Raven doesn’t want to be evil. She doesn’t even like her mother and wants to be nothing like her. Sure she has power and goblins and the like are more than willing to have her as their queen. But Raven truly wants to be her own person and not be forced to live a life based on the choices of those that had lived before. Or based on the Storybook of Legends and what that book determines her life should be like. This line of thinking makes Apple nervous. For if Raven doesn’t follow through with her evil destiny, that will ruin Apple’s chance for a happily ever after.

This is a great book. First of all I love that it is written for a younger audience. There a few and far between books that I can recommend for elementary school-aged kids that are well written. And I am glad that another one has joined the ranks. Secondly, I love the twists and turns that come with the “kids” of all these fairy tale characters. Not only do they have some characteristics of their fairy tale parents, but they are their own selves. Sure the Charming brothers are, well, charming. But they have personalities that go beyond the few sentences that ever describe the handsome princes. And the fact that even all the more minor characters have personalities that are rich and full of depth is refreshing. (Even the narrator is given a bit of a personality!) Plus, as a kid who is often told exactly what they should do and how they should do it and who they should become, this is just the type of book to give them confidence to be themselves. Add to all that the fact that there is enough fight and pull to get away from the typical fairy tale stories and the audience just has no way to know where this story is going. I can’t wait to see where this series is headed!

Book Discussion Questions:
If you were going to be a fairy tale character, what one would you want to be?
Should Apple and Raven be forced to re-live their parent’s tale?
Did Apple really understand Raven’s feelings? Why or why not?
Did Raven really understand what Apple was afraid of? Explain your opinion.
Who is the real villian in this story? Why?
Are Apple and Raven all good or all bad? Give specific examples of how they are one or the other or both.
Why would Raven want to resist being forced to be something she isn’t?
Is it realistic for everyone to become exactly like their parents? Why or why not?
Does the end result justify the means? Give examples (like does Apple breaking the rules to spy on Raven justify her actions?).

Little, Brown and Company, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-316-40122-7
FORMAT: Fantasy
AGES: Elementary School, Middle School

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